Three Cushion Debuts on American TV

This Sunday, May 7, the first show of a four part series on the 2005 Sang Lee International Open will premiere at 10 p.m. Eastern on America One Sports, a division of America One Television Network.

The tournament featured 76 of the strongest three-cushion players in the world, from 23 countries, competing for the most prestigious title in the game and $100,000, the richest purse ever offered on American soil.

The event took place last August at Carom Café Billiards, in Flushing, N.Y., and served as a memorial for the tournament’s namesake, Sang Chun Lee, who passed away on Oct. 19, 2004, at the age of 51. As player, organizer, promoter and room owner, Lee devoted his life to “making billiards beautiful in America,” and rejuvenated three-cushion billiards in the United States.

Ira Lee said Sang would be incredibly pleased to see three cushion’s debut on American TV. “It’s a dream for him,” Ira said.

Three-cushion is a mesmerizing game, in which there are only three balls, a yellow ball for one player, a white one for the opponent and a neutral ball, which is red. The object is to hit both balls and three cushions, but players commonly make five-, eight- and even 10-cushion shots under extreme pressure.

“Many of the top pros in our event have played billiards for over 30 years,” Lee said. “Raymond Ceulemans, perhaps the greatest of them all – has been playing billiards for over 50 years and is still in great form.”

Lee says that the television coverage will be of interest to anyone, with expert commentary and intricate shot problems charted out and diagrammed for the audience beforehand.

“Pool players can learn a lot about cue ball control from these masters, who practice just that aspect of the game that long and that diligently.”

The four-part series will air between May 7 and Aug. 1. For TV scheduling information, check your local listings or visit www.americaonesports.com.

Sang Lee Passes

Sang Lee

Sang Lee

The family of Sang Lee has reported that the former U.S. three-cushion champion passed away on Tuesday, Oct. 19. He was 51. The details of his passing were not immediately known.

A former Korean champion at several carom styles, Lee was a dominant force in U. S. three-cushion circles since moving to the U.S. in 1987. His achievements include winning 12 consecutive national three-cushion titles, beginning in 1990. He solidified his world-class credentials by beating Torbjorn Blomdahl and Hall-of-Famer Raymond Ceuelmans on his way to winning the 1993 Billiards Worldcup Association world Championship.

From 1990 to 1994 in U.S. national competition, he won 41 straight games in the finals, eclipsing a record set by Willie Hoppe in 1941. He also held the U.S. grand average record of 1.835 in a national tournament.

Byrne, Ceulemans get BCA Hall of Fame nods

The voters have spoken, and Earl Strickland can begin making plans to attend the World Pool Championship in Cardiff.

In a vote that seemed to underscore the business nature of the BCA electorate, author Robert Byrne and legendary Belgian 3-cushion star Raymond Ceulemans earned entry into the Billiard Congress Hall of Fame, according to the BCA. Byrne and Ceulemans become the 39th and 40th members of the Hall. The duo emerged as the top vote-getters on a five-person ballot that included Strickland and fellow contemporary players Jim Rempe and Allen Hopkins. Strickland had previously insisted that, if elected, he would bypass the $300,000 world championship to attend the BCA Hall of Fame banquet.

Byrne, 70, credited with drawing thousands of players into the game through his seven books and five videos on billiards, will become the eighth person to be inducted in the Meritorious Service category. Ceulemans, 63, dominated the world 3-cushion scene from the ’60s into the ’90s, winning 16 of his 19 world-titles in an 18-year period between 1962 and 1980.

That the Hall of Fame vote is in the hands of BCA’s 125 Voting members and 175 Associate members (nearly 60 percent of the Voting membership voted, while just 25 percent of the Assoicate members submitted ballots, according to the BCA) probably increased Byrne’s chances, since his books and videos are well known to the BCA business populace. Meanwhile, industry pundits will likely wonder whether the lack of support for Strickland was a direct reflection of his sometimes volatile career.

Hall of Fame Ballot Released

Three first-timers joined a pair of returning nominees on the 2001 Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame Ballot. Author Bob Byrne, three-cushion legend Raymond Ceulemans and player of the year Earl Strickland all make their first appearance on the ballot. Allen Hopkins and Jim Rempe are holdovers from last year. The voting membership of the BCA will elect one or two of the nominees and the winner will be announced in the spring.